Friends, if you’ve lifted up the cross recently or have a story to tell about the impact of the cross on your life, please let me know. I’d love to feature YOUR special experience in this blog. Today I want to introduce you to Billie Jo Youmans, a vibrant writer and woman of God who allowed the cross of Jesus Christ to rock her world at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference.
When Craig and I were married nineteen years ago, we jokingly chose a rock ‘n roll song for our wedding, one that glorified drinking. After nineteen years, six homes, two children and half-dozen jobs, the giddy confidence we began with has been replaced with the foundation of Jesus Christ. This year we celebrated our 19th anniversary by putting up the cross of Christ!
The week before our anniversary, I was blessed to attend the Montrose Area Writer’s Conference. The final speaker was C. Hope Flinchbaugh—and indeed, her words and her life help one to focus on seeing the One who is Hope. I came home and shared the challenge with Craig—I wanted to lift up the cross of Jesus on our property. Christ had dramatically changed the lives of my husband, Craig and I, and the idea of a tangible cross for us and others to see delighted my heart.
Since we are contemplating a move, I wanted a cross on the property that was so much a part of the place a new owner would not be able to readily remove it. I had a spot in my mind that I felt God chose, but I asked my husband to pray that we might know if erecting a cross (in this particular spot especially) was truly God’s direction or simply an emotional response on my part.
A few days later, we discussed the idea again, and to my dismay, Craig suggested another location. Probably influenced by the original location of Christ’s Cross, he suggested we place a large cross at the top of the hill behind our home. The Cross would overlook us and still be quite visible from the road. After agreeing to his choice, I shared my thought about placing a cross in the peak above the garage door. Craig started to laugh and said, “I thought of that first but thought you would think it was crazy!”
It is funny how we never thought that our life B.C. (before Christ or before the Cross really) was crazy. We would have told you we were Christians—and invited you to have a drink with us. We often conversed about Christ in the darkness of our favorite bars. Yet now as we live before the Cross-—before the realization that life only has meaning when lived in Christ’s way—we sometimes are more hesitant. The physical Cross hanging on our garage shines forth the Truth to which we cling. While it may serve to prick the minds of passers-by, it effectively serves to remind us to glorify Him more consistently. Our Cross greets us every time we go in or out of our driveway. It greets all who come to our home. And when we move, it will stay as a testament to the One who changed our lives!
Billie Jo Youmans has been married to her husband, Craig, for 19 years, and they have two teenage children, Rusty and Riesa. Homemaking, including homeschooling, has been her primary ministry for the past 13 years. Prior to home educating their children, Billie Jo worked in the secular human services world, including as the Director of the Voluntary Action Center for her community. She also has learned and served in various service capacities, including mediator, hospice volunteer, Sunday school teacher, writer, and event coordinator. Her passion for the love of Jesus and His transforming work motivates her to serve and see Him at work in the lives of others.